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Federal Gun Charges

If you are suspected of committing a criminal act, it’s often the state in which the act was committed that brings charges against you. The same can be true of many charges stemming from gun laws. However, in some instances, crimes involving guns can be considered a federal offense, which means the case goes before the federal court. It can also mean the offender, if found guilty, faces larger fines or lengthier prison sentences, or both.

When does a gun charge become a federal offense?

Many federal gun charges arise from manufacturing or distributing guns illegally over state lines, or from another country into the state. The law covers federal gun statutes thoroughly under 18 U.S.C. §922, and punishments for these crimes under 18 U.S.C. §924. A general rule to keep in mind is that anyone who is not a licensed gun manufacturer, dealer, or importer may not manufacture, import, export, or receive guns. Additionally, anyone who steals a gun or receives a stolen gun may be charged with a federal offense.

Licensed manufacturers are not allowed to manufacture certain guns, such as sawed-off shotguns or rifles, semi-automatic weapons, or silencers. All guns that are manufactured must contain clearly visible serial numbers. A person in possession of any of these gun types can also receive federal charges.

There are also federal regulations regarding what persons may not possess a gun and transfer it across state lines, even if they attempt to go through a legal outlet to receive the weapon. According to 18 U.S.C. 922(g), those who fall under this law are:

  • Convicted felons, and anyone awaiting a trial for a felony charge;
  • Drug addicts or drug users (there are certain preconditions that are used to determine a person is using drugs);
  • Aliens who are either in the country illegally or who do not have permanent residence in the United States;
  • Persons with a prior domestic assault conviction, or persons who have received a restraining order pertaining to domestic assault;
  • Persons who were dishonorably discharged from the military;
  • Persons who have been adjudicated mentally ill (or reside in a facility for the mentally ill);
  • Persons who are considered fugitives from justice.

The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)

Section 924(e) of the federal code is also referred to as the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). It sets the minimum sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of unlawful gun possession who have had three previous violent felonies or serious drug charges. This section also provides definitions for serious drug charges and violent felonies. Under ACCA, offenders with three prior violent felonies and/or serious drug charges will receive a mandatory minimum 15-year prison sentence.

Charges for Murder and Manslaughter

Anyone who causes the death of another person through the use of a gun will receive time in prison. The cause of death can be either ruled as murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter charges will carry a prison term of up to eight years while voluntary manslaughter will carry a term of up to 15 years. Murder charges can be murder in the first degree or murder in the second degree. Murder in the second-degree charges can carry a prison term of any number of years, or life in prison. Murder in the first degree is punishable by death or life in prison.

Federal gun charges are extremely serious and can result in very grim circumstances. That’s why it’s best for you to find a thoughtful and skilled criminal defense team that will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Call the Columbus criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck, and Associates at today to set up a free consultation on your case.

Facing federal criminal charges? Contact us.

If you have been charged with a federal crime, you’re probably wondering what your options are. The Ohio federal criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates have years of experience handling these types of cases and winning optimal outcomes for our clients. Call Ohio federal crime lawyer Chase Mallory today for a free consultation. To contact him or another criminal defense attorney, call us at or email us via advice@columbuscriminalattorney.com.

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